A woman stands on a street corner waiting for a stranger
This is of course, from the point of view of the woman, an impossible story.
Can you wait for a completely empty signifier? There is something this woman is not telling us. Or, there must be a third party who has told this woman 'Wait on that corner and you will see a stranger.' (And this then must be a town where there is only one stranger; this must be the day 'the stranger came to town').
Or else, to jump the frame, there must be a narrator, who is not waiting but is instead withholding - one for whom 'waiting' is a ploy, a tactic, a way of making us hold our breath (Next Please!)
She knows about waiting for taxis, about rides on open roads (thumb out.) She knows that women who wait for strangers are courting danger, madness, or at least, at least sadness.
So, so here comes the feminine, straddling a chasm readers name Pathetic (having in hand their Map of Prior Readings.) There she stands, our lady in waiting, attending the return of the husband she never had, the lover who did not phone back, alone on a corner, waiting for a way out ...
Est-ce toi, chere Elise ... ~ Is that you, Elise dear ...
... does not in the least mean: I am ascertaining the doubtful identity of the person coming in by asking the very singular question: 'Is she she?' but on the contrary means: you see, you hear, the person coming in is called or rather will be called Elise, I know her very well, and you are entitled to assume that I am on splendid terms with her. And then this too: caught up in the very form of the utterance, there is the vague recollection of all the situations in which someone has said: 'Is that you?' and even beyond, there is the blind subject in the process of interrogating a woman who has come in (and if it isn't you, what a disappointment or what a relief), etc.1
This is the scene of writing: a woman stands on a quiet street corner, waiting for a stranger. Both are alone until the moment of encounter. This is the metaphor which frames both the writing and the encounter. A woman writes in a quiet space, waiting for a stranger. The silence is, of course, illusory for the noise of the machine is inescapable, this hum of the machine. The popping of struck keys by which the writing appears. With each pop, a mark or a space. As if by accident, rather than design, I am both the woman and the stranger: "tous les deux/all two of them".2 As Derrida says:
"tous les deux" can always be heard as "all the twos," all the couples, the duals, the duos, the differences, all the dyads in the world: each time there's a two in the world ... [T]ous les deux ... means both of them ... or 'all the twos," "reparation" and "separation," the one and the other, the reparation which doesn't separate itself from the separation, that is from the irreparable separation, the irreperable separation of the pair disparate in its very appearance. In this second hearing, what makes tous les deux inseparable includes also the separation which unites them, the experience of distancing or inaccessibility which conjoins them.3
And there is always the space between: the space which is neither one nor the other, neither here nor there. Does waiting or writing create this space? During the anxiety induced by waiting and writing, I fill the space between with words. Surely, then, it is the space between which comprises the story: "the living space, the space between us, that we must take care to keep."4 Have you tired of waiting, read ahead and leapt to conclusions, foregoing the space between to fatally arrive somewhere else? Without the space between, there is no possibility, no desire and no story.
As writer/readers, we are in a dialogue through which we write the space between as a desiring narrative. The desire is contingent on the encounter with the other, but not determined by a lack. In our economy, the exchange is the site of intersubjectivity. What if the stranger can't, I mean doesn't, come? This places us into the framework of waiting and expectation. It is a fear that nothing will happen, or worse still, that something might. I am sitting at the scene of writing in an online chat room, waiting for the stranger.